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Fungus-like Protists

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The Littlest Farmers
Teacher Contributed

The Littlest Farmers

No, this isn't a picture of another "pyramid" on Mars. It's the world's tiniest farmer!

Looks Like A Fine Crop Of Bacteria This Year

Agriculture is credited by some with revolutionizing humankind by allowing us to live in more dense social groupings. It is heralded as a great achievement by the planet's dominant species. However, it seems like you don't need two legs to recognize a good idea.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. What causes Dictyostelium discoideum to form "slugs"? What else do some individuals do in their "slug" form?
  2. What do "slugs" do once they have migrated to a new area? How is this beneficial to them?
  3. Do you think the discovery of a "farmer" organism that appears "simple" proves that this practice started early in evolutionary history? Why or why not? Think carefully and be specific in your reasoning.
  4. If you believe this discovery proves early farming by microorganisms, what kind of evidence would be necessary for you to change your mind? If you believe this discovery does NOT prove early farming by microorganisms, what kind of evidence would be necessary for you to change your mind?

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